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Social Security Crisis Is About My Generation And Beyond
Jimmy Moore
February 2, 2005

I would like to issue a challenge to anyone under the age of 40 in the United States of America.  It is time we become actively engaged in this debate over Social Security.

For those of us in our 20's and 30's, this current debate over the coming crisis in Social Security should be ours since it will have the greatest impact on us and the generations that follow after us.

While federal lawmakers can debate the merits of whether we are in an imminent crisis or not, it is clear to most people that if nothing is done the system is going to fall apart by the time we reach retirement age.  The latest public opinion polls show that most Americans believe there are problems with Social Security that need to be fixed. And now.

I applaud those lawmakers who recognize the coming breakdown of Social Security and are offering possible solutions to make it as solvent as it can be by the time we reach retirement age.

With all the pontificating on the subject of Social Security by both the Democrats and the Republicans, the main point of discussion should be to come up with a workable plan that will actually create money that will be there when my generation goes to retire in 30-40 years.

And because wealth does not create itself, it will be necessary to allow those of us who are decades away from collecting benefits to invest some of OUR money in personal investment accounts.

And that's an important element that has been missing in the debate over Social Security. It's OUR money, not the lawmakers in Washington. Listening to the Democrats on Capitol Hill, you'd think it was THEIR money on the line.

"President Bush should forget about privatizing Social Security," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said on Tuesday. "It will not happen -- and the sooner he comes to that realization, the better off we are."

Who does Harry Reid think he is obstructing any discussion about improving Social Security for people in my generation?  I know he's merely pandering to the senior citizen community to keep his precious seat on Capitol Hill.  But this isn't about today's Social Security recipients nor is it about the Baby Boomer generation.  They'll get all the money they have contributed into Social Security as they should.

But for those of us in the Generation X era and beyond, this is vitally important.  While most Democratic and some Republican lawmakers are afraid to support President Bush's plan to allow some of the Social Security money to be invested to earn a profit, it is exactly what is needed for people my age to have something to retire on.

It's not gambling in the stock market, as Democrats suggest, but investing in sound businesses and making smart investments in solid interest-earning accounts that will earn younger workers the money they need when it comes time for them to retire.  Why is this so difficult for some people to understand?

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) said on Monday that he "will oppose diverting money from the Social Security trust fund."

What Social Security trust fund, Sen. Nelson?!  There isn't one and that's what makes this debate with these Democrats who have no clue so incredibly frustrating.  They are only looking at it from the perspective of what they can gain politically today rather than doing what is best for future generations.  Sucking up to seniors by making it about them is blatantly dishonest and people my age need to hear that loud and clear because this is about us.

Sen. Nelson added in his comments, "I will fight against cuts to Social Security benefits.  I will fight against any plan that relies on massive borrowing and increases the debt. And I will fight to protect this program that provides a safe and reliable source of retirement income for millions of Americans."

What cuts, Sen. Nelson?  What plan have you offered to make Social Security what it needs to be?  If Social Security is such a "safe and reliable source of retirement," then why are so many workers my age afraid it will not be there when we reach retirement age? 

If you really want to fight for something, then how about standing up for the millions upon millions of young workers who want to be assured there will be something there for us when we reach retirement age.  What plan do you have to make that happen, Sen. Nelson?  I'm waiting.

Expect this debate to continue for many years to come if nothing is done about it in 2005.  But with each passing year, it will become more and more evident that something will need to be done to make sure Social Security will be there when my generation comes of age. 

Maybe it'll take another decade or two before people my age will be elected to serve on Capitol Hill to actually do something about this very real problem.  But the longer we wait to fix the problem with Social Security, the more difficult the decision will be to make the changes necessary.

The time to do this is now.  Do it for my generation and the generations that follow.  Have the courage to stand up for what is right.  Will you join me in this challenge?

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"The average American already PERCEIVES that they own their own Social Security... and that's what I'm tryin' to protect!" - Senator Fritz 'Foghorn Leghorn' Hollings on WTMA in 1995. ----------- "Sen. . . .

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